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Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is the most common medical complication of pregnancy and a severe threat to pregnant people and offspring health. The molecular origins of GDM, and in particular the placental responses, are not fully known. The present study aimed to perform a comprehensive characterisation of the lipid species in placentas from pregnancies complicated with GDM using high-resolution MS lipidomics, with a particular focus on sphingolipids and acylcarnitines in a semi-targeted approach. The results indicated that despite no major disruption in lipid metabolism, placentas from GDM pregnancies showed significant alterations in sphingolipids, mostly lower abundance of total ceramides. Additionally, very long-chain ceramides and sphingomyelins with twenty-four carbons were lower, and glucosylceramides with sixteen carbons were higher in placentas from GDM pregnancies. Semi-targeted lipidomics revealed the strong impact of GDM on the placental acylcarnitine profile, particularly lower contents of medium and long-chain fatty-acyl carnitine species. The lower contents of sphingolipids may affect the secretory function of the placenta, and lower contents of long-chain fatty acylcarnitines is suggestive of mitochondrial dysfunction. These alterations in placental lipid metabolism may have consequences for fetal growth and development.
The quality of dietary lipids in the maternal diet can programme the offspring to diseases in later life. We investigated whether the maternal intake of palm oil or interesterified fat, substitutes for trans-unsaturated fatty acids (FA), induces metabolic changes in the adult offspring. During pregnancy and lactation, C57BL/6 female mice received normolipidic diets containing partially hydrogenated vegetable fat rich in trans-unsaturated fatty acids (TG), palm oil (PG), interesterified fat (IG) or soyabean oil (CG). After weaning, male offspring from all groups received the control diet until day 110. Plasma glucose and TAG and liver FA profiles were ascertained. Liver mitochondrial function was accessed with high-resolution respirometry by measuring VO2, fluorimetry for detection of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) production and mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake. The results showed that the IG offspring presented a 20 % increase in plasma glucose and both the IG and TG offspring presented a 2- and 1·9-fold increase in TAG, respectively, when compared with CG offspring. Liver MUFA and PUFA contents decreased in the TG and IG offspring when compared with CG offspring. Liver MUFA content also decreased in the PG offspring. These modifications in FA composition possibly affected liver mitochondrial function, as respiration was impaired in the TG offspring and H2O2 production was higher in the IG offspring. In addition, mitochondrial Ca2+ retention capacity was reduced by approximately 40 and 55 % in the TG and IG offspring, respectively. In conclusion, maternal consumption of trans-unsaturated and interesterified fat affected offspring health by compromising mitochondrial bioenergetics and lipid metabolism in the liver.
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